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Serato vs Traktor vs Rekordbox - Updated 22 March 2020

Choosing your software is the first step to selecting a DJ controller. Traktor has been around for 2 decades; Serato is the main American club choice; Rekordbox is innovating and changing the game. Find out what you need for your DJ Lessons below.

I teach DJ Lessons with Serato, and most American club DJs (and Aussies) use Serato; however, I use Traktor for my mobile DJ gigs due to the library function. Rekordbox is now a compelling choice for underground DJs, and I'll be trying the new version again for mobile DJ use.

Program-branded mixers and dj controllers only integrate natively in their designed software. Serato-labeled mixers will not work in Rekordbox or Traktor with full button functions until you reprogram the mapping (just the same as a Traktor controller or Rekordbox controller not working outside their designed purpose). Re-mapping is not an easy task for novice geeks.

Rekordbox, Serato & Traktor with Ableton Live

Rekordbox, Serato and Traktor have the ability to use Ableton Live's Link function to sync the programs, something you can learn in the Advanced DJ lessons.

DVS Digital Vinyl System

DVS is short for Digital Vinyl System, and allows scratching using a record and needle to control the digital tracks. I personally prefer the DVS system to any digital setup for scratching, but learning mixing skills and the basic concepts is much easier now without having to pitch-match. DVS upgrades can be ordered and unlocked later, so skip that unless you are sure.

Final DJ Program Recommendation

Serato DJ in America only because it is so commonly used in the club scene, just as Pioneer mixers and Technics turntables have for decades. Ask what your friends are using and maybe just get both over time like I did.

Musician? Traktor DJ for NI gear integration and remix decks.

Learning? Serato DJ for the simplicity and club support in America.

Pioneer? Rekordbox may be all you need to prepare your set and go!

Serato DJ Pro

Serato DJ Pro (2.3.3) System Requirements

Serato Pros

Serato Cons

To change audio settings, you have to use the System Preferences in OSX or Control Panel in Windows. Changing interfaces in a public setting requires leaving the program. More on this and routing options in the Traktor Pros section.

Native Instruments Traktor DJ Pro

Setup is a little more involved with Traktor, but I prefer the control I have over audio routing. Settings options, search, collections, playlists, and the settings page itself are all far more intuitive to me, but I've used DVS systems since Final Scratch 1.0 in 2001.

My main rig is 2x Technics 1200s and a Pioneer DJM-900-NXS Mk1 4 channel mixer with Traktor and a MacBook Pro. Be prepared to spend some time getting all your settings and layout just how you like it after making the audio work. We'll disucss options in the DJ Lessons.

Traktor 3 System Requirements

Traktor Pros

Traktor Cons

Pioneer DJ Rekordbox

Rekordbox was initially designed to analyze tracks in Pioneer's language for a USB drive to plug in to a CDJ. The timecode data and cue points, etc, would auto-load as well. It has now evolved into a full-DVS system and more.

Rekordbox appears to work natively with ALL Pioneer controllers from all time, including those designed for Serato and Traktor. See the list of Rekordbox compatible Pioneer hardware to see.

RB is supported for my Pioneer DDJ-SR Serato controller, but the license will cost me.

Rekordbox Pros

Rekordbox Cons

  • DJs say Serato & Traktor DVS is better.
  • No license given to DJM-900 owners